Contemporary British restaurant aqua shard partnered with British fashion designer and activist, Dame Vivienne Westwood, to create a spectacular 18 foot Christmas tree, exclusively branded, limited edition chocolate bars made from cacao grown by Asháninka communities in Peru, and a special chocolate dessert and Johnnie Walker Blue Label cocktail all to raise funds for the rainforest charity, Cool Earth. Displayed in the restaurant’s triple-height atrium, set against a stunning backdrop of the capital’s skyline, the sustainably sourced British tree will be designed exclusively by Vivienne Westwood and her husband, design partner and creative director Andreas Kronthaler.
Underpinning the design duos longstanding passion for environmental campaigning, Vivienne and Andreas have chosen to collaborate on the project with rainforest protection charity Cool Earth, a charity they are both Patrons of and have supported for many years. Cool Earth works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction and puts these communities back in control of the world’s most endangered rainforests in South America, Africa, and Oceania. Cool Earth’s award-winning model means they have more rainforest under community protection than any other NGO or government. The tree will be draped with delicate fairy lights and festive beading created by a women’s cooperative in the Awajún community supported by Cool Earth. The garlands are made from "tuju" and "huayruro" seeds. The vibrant colours of huayruro seeds symbolise good fortune, abundance and balance, and new-borns and newlyweds often receive huayruro seeds as gifts for a happy and prosperous life. The tree will then be cocooned in a sumptuous patchwork of lace to create an ethereal shroud around the tree, symbolising the importance to protect the rainforest.
Alongside the resplendent tree, aqua shard will sell an exclusive range of limited edition Cool Earth chocolate bars, priced at £3.95 each, designed with a unique wrapper created by Westwood & Cool Earth. The design for the wrapper is inspired by traditional Asháninka markings, which they use to adorn clothing and ceremonial dress. Layered over the print is a collage of Westwood’s graphics; the ‘destroy’ checkerboard, ‘Time to Act’ and ‘Mirror the World’ highlighted in gold- poignant messages pertaining to our world and the urgent call to save the rainforest. The chocolate is made using cacao from rare criollo beans grown, harvested and fermented by Cool Earth’s Asháninka partners in Peru. The organic, single origin, handmade bars are traceable right back to the rainforest, where cacao production is providing a vital income that means the Asháninka’s forest is safe from the loggers. Bars will be available to purchase online or at aqua shard, with all proceeds going directly to Cool Earth’s rainforest partnerships. Aqua shard has used the charity’s organic chocolate to create an indulgent festive dessert of Cool Earth chocolate mousse with popping candy, pistachio parfait with soft meringue, plum marshmallow with sherbet, a mulled wine jelly and cranberry cream at £8, while in the bar a creative chocolate cocktail featuring Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky, festive chestnut and rhubarb liqueurs, orange bitters and a Cool Earth chocolate rim will be available for £15, with 50% of the sales of both going to Cool Earth. Both will be served from 23rd November to 31st December. Additionally, an optional £1 added to every bill throughout November, December and January will be donated directly to Cool Earth, who recently launched a new project in Papua New Guinea, supporting rainforest communities whose rainforest is being threatened by Palm Oil plantations.